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Laws by the people, for the people

Monday, November 26, 2007

Op-Ed by Joe Simitian, published in the San Francisco Chronicle

The people who live in my Senate district wonder about things. For example, why does so much unused medication go to waste when so many people can’t afford drugs? Can’t we do something to protect senior citizens from unscrupulous mortgage lenders? Why don’t drivers turn on their headlights when they’re out in the pouring rain?

“There oughta be a law,” my constituents told me, to see that the right thing gets done. I agreed. The Legislature and the governor agreed. And now there are laws that permit drug redistribution programs, protect seniors who get reverse mortgages, and require “wipers on, lights on” when we’re driving in bad weather.

These suggestions were among many sent to me in a contest I have held for six years called “There Oughta Be A Law.” I’m continuing it for a seventh, because I’m confident we’re nowhere near to running out of good ideas. As in years past, I’ll pick at least one proposal to introduce as legislation.

When I first started “There Oughta Be A Law,” I didn’t know what to expect. From my years in local government, I knew the people I represented were actively engaged in government and cared deeply about the quality of life in their communities.

Full Op-ed on the San Francisco Chronicle website